Ranger discussion spillover from Know Direction thread...


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
N N 959 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
not without chaining youself to the horribl3 multiclass system, you do that you maybas well make a fighter/druid and bin ranger as a class.
I mean this seriously, what is the difference between being able to spend class feats to buy spellcasting off the primal list as ranger feats and being able to spend class feats to buy spellcasting off the primal list by multiclassing?
Well, I hate the idea of having to "buy" spells, especially if my opportunity cost is other Rangerish abilities. I strongly dislike the feat tax approach to character building. I much prefer, a path whereby I get stuff as part of the deal.

They got rid of feat tax for the most part. Getting spell caster multiclass feats aren't feat tax. The very first one gives you cantrips. Each time you spend more feats you're gaining more spell casting ability. How is that feat tax at all? If rangers got spells as part of their class features and not any class feats then they would have to be nerfed in other places. And I'd rather not make rangers HAVE to be spell casters. I'd rather it be a choice.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Unicore wrote:
Rangers as the absolute best at perception is interesting, but it is a narrow line to walk with the rogue being the iconic master of traps. That is part of why the snares/traps ranger felt like a bad direction for the ranger to jump into for the playtest, because it was pushing it much closer to something that "feels" like it is the rogue's domain. Someone much earlier in the thread pointed out that maybe the "Leadership" role could be a unique ranger niche, with a focus on improving the rest of the party's ability...

I could get behind that premise: A tactician who uses their information gathering to enhance the capabilities of their companions. It is certainely a niche that is still unoccupied at this point and is a feature that I could see other classes wanting to multiclass into, depending on the narrative a character is going for.


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Too late to significantly work this into core, but maybe for one of the first three splats as extra options:

I see the ranger's mechanical niche as a bit of a leadership role - I think 4E had a class called warlord that worked like that? - to expand, I see them literally leading the group as a trailblazer, with decent mobility, unmatched tracking, good stealth, and an intuitive understanding of every environ. During travel, they keep their finger on the pulse of threats - poisons and diseases in the air, creatures in the area, knowing nearby settlements. As combat starts their reactions and instincts allow them to sense enemies and advise allies, they can get around well, being adaptable here, possibly focused on support with buffs and heals and usually a pet, possibly focused on weaponry. After the fight, many rangers will use medical knowledge to patch up wounds and conditions, magical or not.

That's a lot in there! And some of it would be optional stuff relegated to class feats. Stuff I imagine as 'baked in' to the levels and unavoidable until some PF1 style archtype system comes in would be a bit of tracking, a bit of mobility in difficult terrain, a bit of instinct about areas and creatures, especially creatures being tracked, and in combat probably a fighting style choice, and then bonuses to the whole team's positioning and initiative from the ranger's understanding of the situation.


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N N 959 wrote:
I've also used Gravity Bow, Lead Blades, Resist Energy, Shield Companion, Feather Step, and Longstrider, to tremendous effect and benefit. That's excluding the ability to use CLW wands which comes directly from having a spell list. So spells have had a substantive and demonstrative effect on my ranger's story telling. In fact, spells are a bigger factor in my game play than Tracking is by an order of magnitude. And on paper you'd think Tracking was far more important to the concept.

I appreciate the concrete examples. They're convincing, regarding your story-building experience. They don't match with my understanding of the ranger, however. I think what you describe here is more thematic for the druid than ranger (but that's just a personal opinion). The mention of the CLW wand makes this even more apparent.

I also note the inherent contradiction in your statement that the ranger should be primarily a tracker not a hunter, when you admit that tracking doesn't play nearly as much of a role as spellcasting in your ranger's career.

N N 959 wrote:
No, it's not. Not in the way you mean True Ranger. There is no "True Ranger." There is class concept which supports different play-styles and there are attributes/abilities given to the class that are designed to support that concept, as is true with every class in every RPG. The fact that some people aren't aware of them or don't recognize them doesn't mean they aren't there.

Please don't tell me what I mean. That doesn't come across well. You can ask me to elaborate on what I mean if it's not clear, but not assign intentions to me.

What I read in your statements about the class concept, I feel like you're asserting some immanent nature of the ranger that nobody is allowed to question (you did claim in the other thread that your description was fact, not opinion). Sorry, there is no such thing. There is a history of the ranger since the class was invented in 1975. That history has had a number of twists and turns, the class was recognizable throughout, but it evolved, and will evolve again in the future. Hopefully, the majority will continue to recognize the class as an inheritor of that long history. Some may disagree - that will be a matter of opinion. It's the job of the designers to keep as broad a consensus over such things as they can, but they will never achieve unanimity. Game design isn't an exact science.

N N 959 wrote:
The survey asked what people preferred.

Yes. They preferred a ranger with optional spells. Optional implies they need to choose spells over some other abilities.

N N 959 wrote:

Do you think if the Survey had said:"

A - "You get NO spells and nothing else to compensate"
B - "We're going to fix spells for the Ranger and make it default but with an opt-out"
The majority would be taking A as Paizo seems to suggest?

In any survey, closed questions are always leading, that's unavoidable. A well-designed survey will make them as little leading as possible. Your suggested questions are more than leading, they're forcing. Of course no one would do a survey that way, so I'm not sure where you're going with this.

Now, when I read your other posts on this thread, I'm tempted to think what you really wish for PF2 is more of a PF1.5, an incremental evolution only, fixing issues and not much more. Am I mistaken in that assumption? Or is it just about the ranger evolving more than you would have wished?


Deadmanwalking wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

So with archetypes now including skill feats as well as class feats, I wonder if one thing we couldn't do with this space is give some skill feats a class tag meaning that via the appropriate multiclass dedication or "just being that class" you would become eligible to take that feat.

I figure that opens up a potentially nifty design space for classes like the ranger. A bunch of classes could benefit from this, since something like "Wall Run" makes more sense to me as a skill feat requiring Master Acrobatics and "Monk" than a class feat.

I quite like this idea, and would very much like to see exactly this. Giving at least a few to every Class would actually be very cool and create some interesting design space (a Fighter Skill Feat to analyze weapons or fighting styles in some unique way, or a Barbarian Skill Feat to become truly physically superhuman while raging, or a Sorcerer Skill Feat to gain some sort of Intimidate bonus while casting flashy spells).

I'm pretty PossibleCabbage's suggestion is going to be implemented on some level, given that is how the archetypes are working. I think I'm going to steal some of these for my own skill feat reworks in the meantime.


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I wanted to take a moment and say thanks to all who are participating in this effort to help fix the Ranger. Maybe Paizo ignores it, maybe the end result still doesn't work for me, but it's affirming to see that lots of others were unhappy with the class as that indicates it still matters to some percentage of the people who are interested in PF2..


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BluLion wrote:
I think sticking with traditional abilities like favored enemy and terrain tend to cause more problems, as suddenly the player has to play a guessing game regarding which enemies they're primarily fighting otherwise they end up having a useless feature for good parts of the game.

While I'm not advocating the return of Favored Enemy, I think you perspective on FE (one shared by the Ranger blog) is off the mark. Favored Enemy/Terrain was never intended to be a full time benefit. it was intended to be situational. It's an ability that is an obvious parallel of the Giant Class benefit and the core concept of Rangers defending territories/lands. There seems to be this idea that, "OMG, I went through an entire scenario and I didn't use FE/T once, therefore it's broken."

Yes, if you NEVER encounter a FE/T then there is a problem, but that has more to do with your GM than some fundamentally broken ability. Even Paizo seems to have adopted the attitude that FE bonuses should be more frequent. Okay...that's certainly an opinion one can take, but I feel a lot of the animus to these abilities is based on an expectation that was not created by the game, but by the community. Again, I'm not in love with FE/T, but people are criticizing it for it not doing something it was not designed to do, which does not seem constructive.

Another mistake, IMO, by Paizo is that they talk about evolving Favored Enemy into Hunt Target, but FE was never the core mechanic of the Ranger's combat. Hunt Target is. FE was not mean to permeate all aspects of Ranger combat. FE was not the alpha and omega in Ranger tactics like Hunt Target has becomes. I think this is a core change to the Ranger that I found to be the most detrimental to my expectation of playing a Ranger.

In and of itself, Hunt Target could be fine for a class concept. I certainly don't begrudge people liking it. On a PF2 Slayer, I might actually enjoy it. I can't stand it on the Ranger. I suspect it's similar to how people who enjoyed PF1 Paladins don't like Retributive Strike as the pivot for the Paladin. If I were Paizo, and I wanted the people who enjoyed the PF1 Paladin to come play PF2, then I would address that problem directly and not insist on shoving Retributive strike down their throats, even I felt it was a good mechanic and fun to play. Maybe it is, but it does not appear to be what the majority of people who played Paladins in PF1, want to be about.

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I would have preferred if hunt-target was a free action or activated on attack as opposed to spending an action. That, and make the animal companion less cumbersome in terms of action economy and feats.

I don't want the Ranger's entire combat philosophy to be focused one Target at a time. For me, that makes my Ranger feel simple minded. He can't asses the combat in totality, he's only able to focus on one creature at time, and failure to do so, robs him of his combat effectiveness. How is that the Ranger?

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Favored enemy and terrain could still work if rangers were able to "prepare" or swap those like how prepared casters can swap their spells, but making your favored enemies and terrains permanent choices only hurts it.

Yes. That would be a much better evolution of FE. Allow a Ranger to become acclimated to any terrain s/he is in after a certain amount of time or effort or spell points are consumed to do so. Same with Enemies. Fight a certain number in day or use spell points, or something to gain an advantage against a type of creature...not just one creature.


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I see two major problems with favored enemy just as an idea:

- First it requires metagaming in a way no other class ability does. Perhaps you've guessed right, or your GM is making sure you get to use your thing some of the time, but a significant portion of fights it´ll just be useless (barring instant enemy).

- It just doesn't make diagetic sense for people in the game world to place a huge emphasis on creature types, at least that should be more so for academics and less so for worldly folks. Like you run into situations where "Well, Giants are my favored enemy, but that's not useful against titans because those are outsiders, you see." It feels like whatever techniques people use to fight against especially large humanoids would also apply against the largest humanoid shaped things too. Like "that there is an aberration" feels like a weird thing for a character to say, particularly when "aberration" might be colloquially leveled at something which might be, say, in fact a monstrous humanoid (e.g. "that lady has an octopus where her legs should be!")


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I see two major problems with favored enemy just as an idea:

- First it requires metagaming in a way no other class ability does. Perhaps you've guessed right, or your GM is making sure you get to use your thing some of the time, but a significant portion of fights it´ll just be useless (barring instant enemy).

- It just doesn't make diagetic sense for people in the game world to place a huge emphasis on creature types, at least that should be more so for academics and less so for worldly folks. Like you run into situations where "Well, Giants are my favored enemy, but that's not useful against titans because those are outsiders, you see." It feels like whatever techniques people use to fight against especially large humanoids would also apply against the largest humanoid shaped things too. Like "that there is an aberration" feels like a weird thing for a character to say.

. paladin Oaths come close.


N N 959 wrote:
I don't want the Ranger's entire combat philosophy to be focused one Target at a time. For me, that makes my Ranger feel simple minded. He can't asses the combat in totality, he's only able to focus on one creature at time, and failure to do so, robs him of his combat effectiveness. How is that the Ranger?

I agree with you on this. Like you explained that the PF1 ranger was powered up when facing a favored enemy, but still perfectly good when confronted with another creature: This should also be the case for Hunt Target, the ranger should remain an able combattant even when faced with a crowd of weaker opponents, or when choosing not to focus on a single opponent.


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"One target at a time" is kind of a weird thing to specialize in since all classes are going to focus fire because of things like "a monster with 5 HP can still make attacks- close doesn't cut it" and "I can only reach this one person without moving, so I guess I will attack them."

I mean, "AoE" and "Crowd Control" aren't really things martials usually handle.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Sure, but if they have problem solving tools and combat prowess good enough that they don't need spells to boost them (which is something I very much hope to see for all martial Classes), then the spells are kinda superfluous.

I don't agree for a number of reasons:

1. Problem solving tools are what spells are. But no viable/reasonable amount of skill boosts/spell powers is going to cover the breadth of spells. It is specifically because spells cover such a broad range of problems that full casters are so powerful. So anything that doesn't provide that scope is a nerf to a class that didn't need a nerf.

2. All martials should not be equally effective all the time. One key concept in designing classes that overlap in purpose is separating them by context. Characters can all be the best at combat so long as that effectiveness arises in different circumstances. Rage is designed to let a Barbarian dominate in short bursts. Sneak Attack lets a Rogue dominate based on specific tactical situations. For the Ranger, having spells like Lead Blades and Gravity Bow, allowed me to hold my own if not dominate combat, provided I had the time to prep them. The spell use created a concept of the Ranger was even more deadly when it had time to prepare and out think its opponent.

I don't necessarily want a Ranger to be equal to a Fighter in straight-up combat. I want the Ranger to have a mechanism whereby it can surpass a Fighter in some theme-appropriate context that comes up in nominal game play more often than once a real time year. Yes, outside of that the Ranger needs to not be a liability in combat, honestly, I don't have a real problem with the reduced range damage, i think it's fair. I had bigger problem how the Ranger was forced to approach combat i.e. tunnel vision on one target at a time.

N N 959 wrote:
Getting combat bonuses via spells is something martial characters almost certainly should very rarely get inherently.

That's exactly why the Ranger getting them makes the class unique and fun.

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The whole point of the way PF2 is designed in terms of tight math is that every bonus matters. A lot. Boosting damage significantly should generally be something inherent in a martial class rather than one of a host of spells they can use, or it's better served by being a full caster (something Ranger is ill suited to). If Ranger is good enough in combat sans spells (which it should be), then having a wide array of such spells is overkill.

Outside of your statement regarding tight math,I have to disagree with all of that. The very fact that other martials can't boost damage via spells is exactly why one class should be able to do it. The "thou-shall-not-have" rule is what creates design space for something to do exactly that. This is one of the most used/abused concepts in RPG design.

There's no reason to make the Ranger a full caster. The concept of a class only learning entry level spells is 100% viable in this setting. Now, Paizo may have decided for OOC reasons not to use half-casters, but that's about addressing a completely different concern.

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Firstly, Skills are a lot better in PF2, so giving additional Skills and Skill Feats would make Rangers need a lot fewer spells to achieve anything.

1 That's easy to say, but harder to implement. You also run into a very fundamental problem with your approach. Skills have to be open to other classes. Spells do not. If you create spells to completely obviate the need for things like Keen Senses, you're not going to be able to easily restrict that to the Ranger. So then you run the risk that any other skill monkeys can do what the Ranger does (in terms of skills), but better. The Ranger will never have more skills than the Rogue, so Paizo would be perpetuating the problem of Rangers being rendered unnecessary from a skills perspective.

2. You're not going to get Skills to do things like Glide or Ant Haul or Longstrider. More to the point, and perhaps the most important point, as Rob Godrey points out. Spells are far more fluid and changeable than Skills. If you try and do everything with Skill/Skill Feats, you're locking a player into a choice to solve a situational problem. I suppose you could make Rangers the Brawlers of Skill Feats, or into a Factotem, you'd certainly make the class far more interesting to play, I just don't know how well that fits the concept of a Ranger.

3. Let me point out that I don't envision the Ranger as "skill monkey." I envision the Ranger as adaptable and athletic and cunning. The skills certainly help with that, but historically a Ranger hasn't been about having a wide arrange of skills or Rogue-light. Ranger's don't have lock-picking or Stealth or Linguistics or any other skills that I would associate with more skill monkey concepts. I see the skill proliferation in 3.x as more about the class needed them to be competent at the Rangerish things that became skills e.e. Survival (Tracking), Perception, Swim, Ride, Climb, Spellcraft, Knowledge Nature/Geography, etc. WotC was forced to give the Ranger more skill points to cover the basics and effectuate a character that could survive on its own.

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Secondly, Spell Point powers can easily be fairly broad and upgrade over time (an Endure Elements effect upgrading to provide a Resist Energy type effect as well, for example, seems a very Ranger-appropriate Power). Thirdly, there are Rituals, which are a bit underutilized in the playtest, but seem designed to allow for a lot of out of combat utility spells to be made into them.

Sure, if Paizo makes Spell Points as flexible and as mutable as spell, problem solved. Same with Rituals. I agree that Rituals seem like a very fertile space for Rangers, but they'd have to make the mechanic usable and beneficial in nominal play. It can't take 24 hours of meditation and peyote ingestion for a Ranger to have a conversation with a squirrel.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm of two minds about the combat applications of Hunt Target.

On the other hand, the exploration applications - where you can find a creature's tracks and give yourself big bonuses to hunt down that specific creature, and then get combat bonuses against the creature you've been tracking the whole time - that I see as a wonderful expression of the core concept of the Ranger. That was my favorite part of the Ranger in the playtest.

Favored Enemy was also a problematic ability because bad GMs exist. Favored Enemy gives a really really big bonus, to the extent that Rangers can just massacre favored enemies (another reason I don't see it coming back in 2e is that the bonus can't be that big); some GMs would just never have the party encounter those kinds of enemies and then your biggest single source of damage never comes into play. As much as possible, class features should not depend on the quality of your GM to function.


I feel like the general rule should be "class features should be things which you can apply in every situation where they are relevant" whereas class *feats* are for abilities which are situational like "good at fighting the undead" or "I can spend focus to teleport" or "I can still fight while blind" since obviously you will not always need to teleport while fighting the undead whilst blind (that would be a weird campaign) but sometimes you will want to do each of those things.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I see two major problems with favored enemy just as an idea:

- First it requires metagaming in a way no other class ability does. Perhaps you've guessed right, or your GM is making sure you get to use your thing some of the time, but a significant portion of fights it´ll just be useless (barring instant enemy).

Meta-gaming is part and parcel to how RPG's work. The GM has to meta-game, the players have to meta-game. Some people obviously have a notion of good vs bad meta-gaming...fine, but that's arbitrary unless you are making that classification on things that help vs hurt the game and that is objectively true for the majority of players.

When you build a character in any system with choices, you're metagaming. Your going through abilities that you, as a player, like. You're not taking skills from those you would have learned organically. You can't play RPGs without meta-gaming. Every time you pick up a die, you're meta-gaming.

Yes, FE intends for the player to have an idea of what the campaign will be about. That's entirely intended. If I am a GM and I'm creating an undead campaign, I filly expect the Ranger to come in with FE vs undead and possibly some justification (though I really don't care) as to how their character became skilled at fighting undead. Could there be a campaign where you're never fighting the type of creature more than once? I suppose, but then a Ranger isn't going to be the best choice, just a like an adventure devoid of traps and creatures immune to precision damage cripples the Rogue. Do APs routinely not have more than one creature of any given type throughout the entire adventure path?

Paizo introduced retraining, so can't a Ranger legitimately and narratively change their Favored Enemy, "Hey, we've been fighting gnolls for the last years, so I'm going to start focusing on them."

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- It just doesn't make diagetic sense for people in the game world to place a huge emphasis on creature types , at least that should be more so for academics and less so for worldly folks.

Emphsis mine.

Remember that discussion we had about core concepts of the Ranger? The Ranger was originally conceived of as someone who defended lands from evil forces. So the Ranger concept is born not from the concept of a world traveler, but one who has fought and defended an area so as to become familiar with the creatures and the terrain. Here is a quote from D&D 5 description

D&D 5e Ranger wrote:
A ranger’s talents and abilities are honed with deadly focus on the grim task of protecting the borderlands.
Ranger from another official D&D website wrote:
Though a ranger might make a living as a hunter, a guide, or a tracker, a ranger’s true calling is to defend the outskirts of civilization from the ravages of monsters and humanoid hordes that press in from the wild.

So at least for D&D, the concept of the Ranger having some abilities applicable to defending lands, still exists. Paizo is obviously free to dump that concept, but it robs the class of some of its historical identity.

Naturally, the Ranger concept for the player characters involves someone who is, in fact, a traveler, but the FE/T mechanic exists to support the concept of someone who has had to fight the same type of creature frequently enough to have an advantage when facing it. I think that makes for more diegetic sense than Hunt Target.

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Like you run into situations where "Well, Giants are my favored enemy, but that's not useful against titans because those are outsiders, you see." It feels like whatever techniques people use to fight against especially large humanoids would also apply against the largest humanoid shaped things too.

That's a function of how TSR and WotC chose to group the creatures. In order to give the bonus, you have to limit its scope. It would have been nice to see Paizo change the groupings for Favored Enemy instead of dumping them. If the complaint was that it didn't come up enough, then why not broaden the groupings or give an FE choice at every other level or more than one at a time. There are lot of ways to improve it.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The problem with the concept of "one who has fought and defended an area so as to become familiar with the creatures and the terrain" is that's the description of an NPC, not a PC. In most campaigns, a character tied to a single area is not going to make a good PC.


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I disagree with the notion that "making choices is inherently metagaming". At least "I expect to fight a lot of orcs" is a different level of metagaming than "I expect I will need to fight something that flies."

For most characters we can make decisions for what our character takes based on our conception of who this person is, what experiences they have had, and what they value. For the ranger we're expected to change who this person is and what they have experienced based on what we, they player, expect to be asked to do. My Ranger is a fundamentally different person if they have a reason to focus on killing "humanoid(human)" (almost always the best choice) than they would be if they had focused on killing undead, or dragons, or giants. My fighter doesn't become a different person if they choose to learn how to blind fight and my sorcerer doesn't become a different person if they learn how to cast fly.

I mean, if my character is most comfortable in the desert, that means I need to write into their backstory that they have spent a lot of time in the desert. Other classes don't have this problem.

Here's how I would prefer to implement something like favored enemy for PF2. Attempt a "Recall Knowledge" check to identify the monster, if successful you get a bonus". It's simple, it invokes "the ranger is the person who knows about monsters" and it works in every fight.


MaxAstro wrote:
The problem with the concept of "one who has fought and defended an area so as to become familiar with the creatures and the terrain" is that's the description of an NPC, not a PC. In most campaigns, a character tied to a single area is not going to make a good PC.

The Ranger is not intended to be stuck to an area as a PC. What I'm trying to explain is that TSR looked at this Ranger thing in Tolkein and said, how can we bring that into game terms? How can we make a playable class that is born from this type of background? WotC did the same thing and has carried that concept forward, almost verbatim into 5e. So this is a core concept in the narrative of Rangers. That doesn't mean Paizo has to follow it, but to the extent that they start ditching these concepts or implementing changes that undermine them, they move away from the continuity of the class. Maybe that's in improvement for you. In the way Paizo has done it, it's not an improvement for me.

Based on years of forum reading, it's evident there a lots of people who view classes as nothing more than a bag of mechanics from which to make their character. Case in point

PossibleCabbage wrote:

I'll be honest, the PF1 ranger was one of the few classes I engaged with purely on a "mechanic" level with basically no good overall sense on the thematics of the class. It was just "here's a package of stuff you can get if you take levels in this class and not another one."

Most of the rangers I saw were primarily "looking for feats without qualifying for prereqs" above all. Favored Enemy and terrain were mechanics I actively disliked because it put a tension between "guess what and where you will be fighting based on the premise of the campaign" and "what enemies and places is your character best at fighting, based on their backstory or personality" in a way no other class really had.

This suggests there are lots of people who use the Rangers class, but are not really wanting to play a Ranger in narrative, and are trying to change the class to suit their end-game. Which is fine. Paizo can cater to that to its benefit or detriment. I'd prefer more continuity in concept rather than less.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I disagree with the notion that "making choices is inherently metagaming". At least "I expect to fight a lot of orcs" is a different level of metagaming than "I expect I will need to fight something that flies."

This is ancillary to fixing the Ranger, so I'm just going to move on.

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My Ranger is a fundamentally different person if they have a reason to focus on killing "humanoid(human)" (almost always the best choice) than they would be if they had focused on killing undead, or dragons, or giants. My fighter doesn't become a different person if they choose to learn how to blind fight and my sorcerer doesn't become a different person if they learn how to cast fly.

For you, that may be true. It's not necessarily true for everyone, and more to the point, that aspect of the class doesn't determine how you are a different person and to what extent that is manifest. Things like this are entirely up to how each person wants to envision their character and can have as little or as much impact on the character as the player chooses.

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I mean, if my character is most comfortable in the desert, that means I need to write into their backstory that they have spent a lot of time in the desert. Other classes don't have this problem.

You may see that as a negative, but consider that the Ranger class strongly supports a character concept where the past can have a mechanical tie in. Many people do that with traits, so I know some players see this type of tie-in as a positive.


Unicore wrote:
What does the ranger even do is a great question.

For me, it's more about what the Ranger should/could do that others can't. The most obvious answer for me is Tracking. The problem is Tracking has been essentially pointless in PF1. The way tracking was implemented in 3.5 did not create usable tool for the class. Tracking could be something useable as much as an AoO, Retributive Strike, or Sneak Attack. If the capabilities of Tracking were modified, a tracking check could proceed most combats and lead to benefits in combat. I've talked about this in past threads and others have brought it up here. I am one who made a case that Hunt Target should be usable from Tracking a creature and not just seeing it or hearing it.

But Paizo would have to really spruce up Tracking as a game mechanic. It would have to be applicable to anything that walks, crawls, runs, flys, or swims, and at higher level to things that even teleport. Tracking would need to be a vehicle for conveying a lot more information and could be a trigger in the way Hunt Target has tried to be.

Tracking something, imo, is very Rangerish and feels very consistent with the class theme/setting/area of expertise. It is a perfect complement to the Legendary Perception. Would there be a feeling that my Ranger needs to be tracking to be useful? Sure, but that is a consequence of having something that makes one useful, like buffing or trapfinding.

Tracking would complement hunting and scouting, monster hunter, and all the other aspects of the class concept. It's a space that is not being leveraged by any other class.

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I love the ranger. I want the ranger to exist as a cool and interesting class, but hunt target is not going to get it there.

I agree, the biggest thing for me is Hunt Target came along and put a vice grip on my tactical in combat and that totally killed the class for me. Sure, the Barbarian and Rogue have a dominant PF1 combat mechanic, but Paizo brought those into PF2. They didn't say the Rogue is "first and foremost" a liar or a charlatan and then base all the classes combat on being able to lie or trick someone.

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The kind of magic that NN is asking for really doesn’t exist in PF2. Powers are just not as versatile as spells and spells only come in all the way, none, or through multi classing. Maybe the ranger could be a casting class built around its own class feats that grant access to primal spells like an archetype, but why bother if that is already possible with multi-class druid.

You may be correct and if so, it's a backdoor nerf on a class that absolutely should not be nerfed. I disagree that Paizo should propound multi-classing as a solution to iconics that fail to deliver. That would be a really bad path for the designers to go down.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
It's not like the Warpriest, Bloodrager, Swashbuckler, Skald, and Brawler need to come back either.

I've never played these classes, but I did enjoy playing along side them. The Brawler class is just plain neat to see when played by someone who fully commands it. A Warpriest is just the kind of kick-ass-take-names-without-having-to-be-melodramatic class that was missing from the milieu. It's cool because I played alongside people who loved having divine spells and not having to heal anyone as an expectation. I also was really fond of Paizo's clever leveraging of the Swift actions to power the combat mechanics. Honestly, it was an impressive bit of design, imo, and I feel it is a shame that its ingenuity won't really translate to PF2.


Maybe the ranger would benefit from a makeover like the paladin/champion, where the ranger is a subclass of a bigger class. It seems like you could have some kind of intelligence-based combatant who studies his/her enemy before attacking (more nova than DPR), and being int-based could provide exposition (we are trying to recreate Aragon right?).

So ranger is the outdoors version, investigator is the intrigue/urban version (also Batman), and there could be an archeologist/spelunker for dungeons/lost cities (Indiana Jones). Main difference would be default skills (and being int-based, there should be a lot of skill points or whatever they will use in PF2).


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Personally I still think "tied to a specific terrain" is too narrow for a core class. I feel like the core classes should all be viable in the majority of campaigns, and Ranger kinda fails that litmus test right now.


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MaxAstro wrote:
Personally I still think "tied to a specific terrain" is too narrow for a core class. I feel like the core classes should all be viable in the majority of campaigns, and Ranger kinda fails that litmus test right now.

Indeed I'm not sure if "this class is vastly more powerful in one flavor of campaign than others" is even appropriate for a class.

Like whether it's an urban campaign, a plane-hopping campaign, a seafaring campaign, an overland traveling campaign, a subterranean campaign, a horror campaign, and intrigue campaign a lot of classes are going to perform at around the same level if they are built with the specific considerations of the campaign in mind.

In PF1 a ranger is going to perform vastly better in a campaign where you stay in the mountains the whole time and fight giants than it would be in some place where you travel from Brevoy to Jalmeray and fight a bunch of different stuff on the way. Personally, I think that is bad design.


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MaxAstro wrote:
On the other hand, the exploration applications - where you can find a creature's tracks and give yourself big bonuses to hunt down that specific creature, and then get combat bonuses against the creature you've been tracking the whole time - that I see as a wonderful expression of the core concept of the Ranger. That was my favorite part of the Ranger in the playtest.

Yes. I lobbied for Paizo to allow Hunt Target to work off of tracking, but I did not get a chance to play that change. But the class is still forced to focus on its Target or be denied most, if not all, its combat bonuses.

Quote:
Personally I still think "tied to a specific terrain" is too narrow for a core class. I feel like the core classes should all be viable in the majority of campaigns, and Ranger kinda fails that litmus test right now.

There is no easy fix to this class. I was reading some design feedback from the D&D 5 playtest on the Ranger and it made an interesting observation. Essentially the Ranger is a class that was based on having specialized skills. As the game has evolved, those skills and abilities are more accessible to other classes and there isn't enough left that is applicable to nominal play

PF2 has decided to make the class about a combat mechanic more than anything else. And while I can understand that approach, it sells the class short, particularly in the way that it was done. Is there some permutation of HT that might work for me? Perhaps, but it would have to leverage the concept of the Ranger being cunning and adaptable, not singularly focused.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Indeed I'm not sure if "this class is vastly more powerful in one flavor of campaign than others" is even appropriate for a class.

I wouldn't call +2 at level 1-4 "vastly more powerful." Sure, it's nice at level 1, but easily overshadowed by level 4.

Quote:
In PF1 a ranger is going to perform vastly better in a campaign where you stay in the mountains the whole time and fight giants than it would be in some place where you travel from Brevoy to Jalmeray and fight a bunch of different stuff on the way. Personally, I think that is bad design.

I disagree. I think it's a design that requires a more open and collaborative form of GMing. If your campaign is not based in the mountains, fighting giants, then don't choose FE/T's based on that fact.

Again, I'm all for an improvement over FE/T, but some of these criticisms come off as dog-piling.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm not sure a bunch of people agreeing with each other is dog-piling just because they happen to disagree with you. :)

Favored Enemy has been a mechanic I haven't really liked for basically always, because of the weird campaign/metagame issues. Ask any Ranger player how much they love Instant Enemy and you will see my point - Favored Enemy is so problematic that one spell was able to completely change the viability of Rangers.

And it IS conceptually limiting. If you have a cool idea for a character that survived an orc attack as a young child and has been skirmishing with marauding orcs for years, and then the GM tells you that the campaign isn't going to feature orcs much, you basically either have to rewrite your entire character concept, or keep the same backstory but not be a Ranger - which is what I've done, every time that came up.

Allowing Rangers to change their favored enemy dynamically is a much better implementation, but one that leaves me asking "but how different is that from Hunt Target?"


MaxAstro wrote:
I'm not sure a bunch of people agreeing with each other is dog-piling

Dog piling is bashing something just because everyone else is doing it. It has nothing to do with whether I agree or disagree.

Quote:
Favored Enemy has been a mechanic I haven't really liked for basically always, because of the weird campaign/metagame issues. Ask any Ranger player how much they love Instant Enemy and you will see my point - Favored Enemy is so problematic that one spell was able to completely change the viability of Rangers.

You don't get Instant Enemy until lvl 10, and then only if you have a 16 Wisdom. So if you're suggesting the class isn't viable before then, how are you getting to level 10? The PF1 Ranger was perfectly viable without Instant Enemy. That spell just makes a Ranger a master assassin at lvl 20.

Quote:
And it IS conceptually limiting.

Yes, it. Just as like Smite Evil is conceptually limiting and so is Sneak Attack or being required to learn your spells in advance. Some classes are designed to operate in a smaller box than others. That is the nature of the game. If someone views the Ranger as simply mechanics and not a holistic concept, then I can see why they don't want anything that interferes with that.

Quote:
If you have a cool idea for a character that survived an orc attack as a young child and has been skirmishing with marauding orcs for years, and then the GM tells you that the campaign isn't going to feature orcs much, you basically either have to rewrite your entire character concept, or keep the same backstory but not be a Ranger - which is what I've done, every time that came up.

And if I had a cool idea that my Paladin was Lawful Evil, but was under contract to kill other evil as part of a turf war so he needed to use positive energy, I couldn't do that either. I don't agree that every class has to perfectly adapt itself to every character concept anyone can come up with. I don't agree that you should be able to create a backstory that has no tie in to the campaign and then expect to get a mechanical benefit based on our backstory. But the Ranger class would be a great choice if the GM was going to make it an Orc campaign, so sometimes it works out and sometimes you have to go a different route. Decisions should have consequences or the decisions are meaningless. As a GM, I would absolutely want my campaign choices to impact character development.

Quote:
Allowing Rangers to change their favored enemy dynamically is a much better implementation, but one that leaves me asking "but how different is that from Hunt Target?"

Dramatically different, imo. A PF1 Ranger's combat style and class abilities are not dependent on FE. Not until Quarry are you limited by that choice and then, you've got your best friend, "Instant Enemy" to remove that restriction and allow you use your capstone ability on anything and arguably makes the class almost overpowered (almost). By Master Hunter you've got five Favored Enemy types and I'd think that would dramatically improve its usefulness. But a Ranger is hardly dependent on being able to use Quarry and Master Hunter to contribute and be effective from combat to combat and I'd say the same about Favored Enemy.

I can't speak for others, but I've never felt underpowered playing a PF1 Ranger, and certainly not an archery Ranger. My archer character isn't even built for damage i.e. 14 STR, no Deadly Aim. Sure, my Sword and Board isn't the equal of a THF Barbarian, but the tactical advantage of a having a pet and Shield Slam create a lot of mayhem on the battlefield.

I'll keep repeating this. I'm not advocating for the return of FE/T. But HT doesn't isn't an improvement, and I'm not the only Ranger-lover who feels that way.


I have to agree with N N 959 on most points. I personally loathe the PF2 Ranger. You can look at my previous posts to learn why.


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Gorbacz wrote:
Ranger is a person with bow (or twin scimitars) and a pet. That's the Core Identity of the class. Anything beyond that is projecting your personal preferences that aren't shared by people who associate the D&D range with the above archetype.

This is the description of a npc class warrior, not a pc class. I would ask, what roles do Paizo intend the Ranger to fill in an adventure path. Why choose a ranger in a roleplaying (that also includes non-combat encounters) over another class?


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Gorbacz wrote:
Ranger is a person with bow (or twin scimitars) and a pet. That's the Core Identity of the class. Anything beyond that is projecting your personal preferences that aren't shared by people who associate the D&D range with the above archetype.

This is the description of a npc class warrior, not a pc class. I would ask, what roles do Paizo intend the Ranger to fill in an adventure path. Why choose a ranger in a roleplaying (that also includes non-combat encounters) over another class?


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I keep seeing complaints about how Hunt Target forces you into this style of only ever focusing on one target at a time and every complaint I see to this effect seems to look at the matter pretty narrowly.

For one thing, I feel it's worth noting that in most combats I see a given character almost always focuses on one enemy at a time until that enemy dies or something changes significantly. Not everyone will necessarily be on the same enemy but each character generally focuses on one foe at a time.

But if you ARE in a situation where you are splitting focus it isn't the end of the world. You can shoot/slice other foes perfectly fine. In fact, some of the better Hunt Target benefits work even if you are splitting your targets.

If you have the Flurry edge, you can make one attack against a non-target at full effect and then use Hunted Shot/Twin Takedown or just more regular attacks on your hunted target and get the full advantage of your MAP reduction.

If you have the Precision edge, you can split your attacks up as you darn well please and as long as you hit your target once in the turn you get the full effects of your edge.

Stalker, well, doesn't really apply to attacks.

So it's entirely feasible to split between multiple targets while still getting the benefits of Hunt Target.

Not to mention that the feats to hunt multiple targets or to share your target expand this even further without too much cost, encouraging a scout-leader type of deal or a more general mechanic of "study your foes to get advantages" rather than "I have to laser-focus on one enemy at a time". Heck, even without augments the base Hunt Target services that just fine. And nothing even stops you from moving your target around, yeah it takes an action but Hunted Shot/Twin Takedown makes up that deficit immediately.

TL;DR I see such assertion that the Ranger is shoehorned into being this narrow laser-focus on one enemy at a time fighter and with just a bit of looking at things with a different perspective I see that as being really far from true.


I loved favored enemy. Makes sense you are good at hunting a particular foe. You also got multiple FE during a campaign. If you GM was bait and switch though i could see that being aggravating. Then, I came online and saw how a lot of folks assumed FE was "genocidal maniac" so I can see why some wanted to see it go.

The new mechanic is meh. I'd rather the ranger get cool stealth and tracking abilities. The ranger just is missing something in PF2.


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N N 959 wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Wait, what? What do you mean Hunter doesn’t have spells? Hunter is a 6/9 caster, which is more than Ranger.
Sorry, I'm thinking of the Slayer. The PF2 Ranger feels more like a Slayer.

No it doesn't. The Slayer was a well designed, fun and functional class. The playtest ranger doesn't feel anything like that.


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Edge93 wrote:

I keep seeing complaints about how Hunt Target forces you into this style of only ever focusing on one target at a time and every complaint I see to this effect seems to look at the matter pretty narrowly.

For one thing, I feel it's worth noting that in most combats I see a given character almost always focuses on one enemy at a time until that enemy dies or something changes significantly. Not everyone will necessarily be on the same enemy but each character generally focuses on one foe at a time. ...

I agree that the complaint about Hunt Target locking the ranger to a single target is not on the mark. The ranger could use the Hunt Target action on creature #1 but when creature #2 becomes a more important target (say, it got past the front line and is attacking the ranger), then the ranger switches the Hunt Target to creature #2 as an action. And to creature #3, #4, etc. as combat progresses. Of course, he pays a price, since each Hunt Target action costs an action.

My mechanical complaint about Hunt Target is that Hunt Target is an action tax. Spending 1/3 of the ranger's first-turn actions in order to lose one ranged attack penalty and activate several feats is a hefty cost.

Paizo corrected this slightly in Rules Update 1.3,

Rules Update 1.3, page 3 wrote:

• Page 115—In the Monster Hunter feat, at the beginning,

add “As part of the action used to Hunt Target, you can
attempt a check to Recall Knowledge about your target.”.

I had boosted the knowledge receved from Recall Knowledge to make the action worth using at the beginning of combat (it was unplayable otherwise); thus, a Monster Hunter ranger would be getting his first Hunt Target for free because he would have started with a Recall Knowledge. But not everyone has a houserule about Recall Knowledge.

Rules Update 1.6's option to start a Hunt Target in exploration mode by spotting some tracks also will reduce the tax.

Some action taxes make sense. The bard using an action to start the Inspire Courage composition or a monk using an action to enter a stance makes sense. The PF2 barbarian also uses an action to enter rage, though that one feels less natural since I am accustomed to the PF1 barbarian rushing into battle quickly since PF1 rage is a free action (I am tempted to move the Rage action to the 2nd round, renaming it "Maintain Rage"). The alchemist probably has to spend an action to draw an alchemical bomb before throwing it.

I presume that Hunt Target is based on the PF1 Slayer's Studied Target ability, which costs a move action (or swift action at 7th level). Studied Target makes more sense mechanically, because it gives numerical bonuses for having studied the target. The ranger gains an ability to shoot faster (Hunted Shot) or fight with two weapons (Twin Takedown) because he studied the target. The conceptual connection there is weak. Other PF2 ranger feats try to mimic the simple numerical bonus of Studied Target by removing penalties, which looks kludgey. I presume that this is so that the ranger's feats stack with circumstantial, conditional, or item bonuses, but the result is way too complex for a game that is supposed to be simpler than PF1.

The one-action cost of Hunt Target, a mandatory cost since many ranger feats depend on a hunted target, diminishes the elegance of a woodland hunter.
SPOTTER: There's a wild boar.
RANGER: I see it. Give me a moment for my targetting. (shoots)
SPOTTER: It's still on its feet.
RANGER: Yeah, but I know it now. (shoots, shoots, shoots). It's down.
SPOTTER: That's another.
RANGER: Give me a moment. ... (Shoots) ... (Shoots, shoots, shoots).
SPOTTER: Why do you do that pause thing before the first shot but not the other shots?
RANGER: I have to take a moment to fully understand its movements.
SPOTTER: But you have been hunting boar for years.
RANGER: It takes a moment to remember years of experience, and then it stays in my head until I focus on another target.
SPOTTER: Is that moment for reading its movements or for years of experience?
RANGER: Both, I guess.

Hunt Target is an action tax with ever-changing explanation in game (Schroedinger's justification?). The design explanation is that a ranger needs to be as good as a fighter to hit well, but is not allowed to be as good as a fighter except temporarily. An action tax keeps the boost temporary.


Could we fix the action tax mechanic by:

-Making "Hunt target" a stance, i.e. you are "focusing, and getting in the right mindset" which is not something you walk around doing.

-Allowing Rangers past a certain level to switch "hunted" targets as a reaction or free action while in the stance.

I mean, master of many styles is uninspiring for the monk since it comes on at level 16 and making it useable eats a lot of your feats, but the idea has legs.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

Could we fix the action tax mechanic by:

-Making "Hunt target" a stance, i.e. you are "focusing, and getting in the right mindset" which is not something you walk around doing.

-Allowing Rangers past a certain level to switch "hunted" targets as a reaction or free action while in the stance.

I mean, master of many styles is uninspiring for the monk since it comes on at level 16 and making it useable eats a lot of your feats, but the idea has legs.

Nah. Stances are fatiguing, and a big point of Hunt Target is you can do it when tracking something over hours.

At that point, you might as well just make it a free action to Hunt Target. Or perhaps make it a free action or reaction to switch targets would make more sense.

Other solutions might be making it so that Hunt Target let's you apply it to any creature of that type. If you're tracking a herd of virtually identical beasties, you probably wouldn't know which one was your Hunted Target anyway. I'm just not sure how you would apply it to, say, humanoids of the same ancestry but vastly different capabilities.

You could also remove the limit on how many targets you can have at one time, but leave it as an action to hunt any individual target. That way a Ranger tracking a large group or scouting out an enemy force could mark every single one of them before combat begins. Kind of a Far Cry feel, which seems pretty on brand for the Ranger.


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Mathmuse wrote:
I presume that Hunt Target is based on the PF1 Slayer's Studied Target ability, which costs a move action (or swift action at 7th level). Studied Target makes more sense mechanically, because it gives numerical bonuses for having studied the target. The ranger gains an ability to shoot faster (Hunted Shot) or fight with two weapons (Twin Takedown) because he studied the target. The conceptual connection there is weak. Other PF2 ranger feats try to mimic the simple numerical bonus of Studied Target by removing penalties, which looks kludgey. I presume that this is so that the ranger's feats stack with circumstantial, conditional, or item bonuses, but the result is way too complex for a game that is supposed to be simpler than PF1.

Once again, Spheres of Might has some nice options for martial characters that Paizo could take inspiration from. Specifically, the feat Target Spotting. The actual mechanics are "Make a Knowledge check to identify the creature, or substitute Perception by taking a -5 penalty. If you succeed, you can expend martial focus to treat the target as your highest favored enemy." So basically, Instant Enemy, but limited by the action economy and Knowledge/Perception instead of being a 3rd level spell. (So requiring level 10, 13 Wis, and 3rd level spell slots)

The flavor of the ability is somewhere between the Ranger and the Slayer in 1e. You're still focused on one type of enemy in particular, but you're also good enough at monster lore and/or observation in general to be able to get similar bonuses against creature types that aren't your specialty.

You could argue you'd still have the issue you described when fighting hordes of enemies. But explicitly tying it to a skill check and getting to have a few creature types that don't require it at least feels a little more natural.


Edge93 wrote:
TL;DR I see such assertion that the Ranger is shoehorned into being this narrow laser-focus on one enemy at a time fighter and with just a bit of looking at things with a different perspective I see that as being really far from true.

Edge, thanks for popping in and offering a contrary perspective. If we are going to be accurate then it's important that we take an objective look at the criticisms. Let's go through your assertions:

Quote:
For one thing, I feel it's worth noting that in most combats I see a given character almost always focuses on one enemy at a time...

I would agree that there are many battles where there is either only one target, or you aren't significantly benefited from attacking a different target. In these situations, Hunt Target isn't a liability, but that doesn't remove the imposed narrative of Hunt Target. What is that narrative? Let me quote the rulebook:

Playtest Hunt Target wrote:
You designate a single creature as your target and focus your attacks against that creature. You must be able to see or hear the target, or you must be tracking the target in exploration mode.****You can have only one creature designated as the target of your hunt at a time. If you use Hunt Target against a creature when you already have a creature designated, the prior creature loses the designation and the new target gains the designation. In any case, this designation lasts until your next daily preparation (see page 332).

Before we even dissect the mechanics, the intent and mindset is clear. Single. Target .Focus. While it is true that anyone who hunts is going to be focused on a single target, historically, Rangers were not uniquely benefited from focusing on single targets and conversely were not at a disadvantage for failing to do so. Favored Enemy doesn't require you to focus on a single target. FE gives you a bonus against ALL creatures of that type in any given battle,, not just one of them at a time.

Quote:
... until that enemy dies or something changes significantly. Not everyone will necessarily be on the same enemy but each character generally focuses on one foe at a time.

So here you start to lose traction. As an archer, one of my biggest advantages is being able to switch targets. I frequently will delay my attack and see if any targets appear close to death and then focus fire on them. If I kill something with one arrow, the next arrow is hitting someone else...and that happens instantly, without requiring I expend any additional actions. Nor do I lose any benefits unless I was previously attacking an FE and then don't. With the advent of alchemical arrows, like tanglefoot and thistle, I routinely pepper any spell casters.

As a sword and board Ranger, I will often use things like Shield Slam to disrupt one ally while attacking another. With both melee and ranged Rangers, I will use my Companion on any number of different targets, frequently sending it to defend squishies in our own group.

So the fact that now I am being told my combat schtick is to attack my Hunted Target is a dramatic and substantive change to tactics, narrative, mechanics, and psychological feedback from the PF2 Ranger. I'm clearly not alone in feeling Hunt Target is part of the problem.

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But if you ARE in a situation where you are splitting focus it isn't the end of the world. You can shoot/slice other foes perfectly fine.

Unless your definition of fine means that you are simply allowed to do something, that's demonstratively false. You get bonuses for attacking your Target. Neither you nor your Companion nor your Allies get those same bonuses for attacking a non-Target.

Quote:
If you have the Flurry edge, you can make one attack against a non-target at full effect and then use Hunted Shot/Twin Takedown or just more regular attacks on your hunted target and get the full advantage of your MAP reduction.

Demonstratively false again. What is "full effect?" There is no effect for attacking a non-Target. By using my first attack against a non-Target, I sacrifice getting possible third or fourth attack at the highest MAP reduction. At higher levels with agile weapons, that's giving up two attacks at -4

Quote:
If you have the Precision edge, you can split your attacks up as you darn well please and as long as you hit your target once in the turn you get the full effects of your edge.

That's like saying this is "free...for five dollars." Hunt Target is requiring that I attack my Target to get any benefit from Hunt Target. Precision does not remove that restriction for my Companion nor my Allies. They too, must still attack my Target.

Quote:
Stalker, well, doesn't really apply to attacks.

Yes, it does. Companions and Allies are still restricted to the Target to gain benefit. What's more, your benefits from Stalker only apply to the Target so your entire non-combat plan has to involve using those benefits against your Target. Yes, you can freely switch to any Target, but that doesn't change the psychology of being consumed with a single target. Your entire non-combat approach begins with figuring out who you want to zap with Hunt Target...same as combat.

Quote:
So it's entirely feasible to split between multiple targets while still getting the benefits of Hunt Target.

That statement is misleading. It's entirely possible to use a weapon your non-proficient in your off-hand while still getting the benefits of your proficient weapon in the other. But you're attempting to suggest there is no penalty or drawback in doing so and that is...once again...demonstratively false. Any Ranger who does not attack his or her Hunted Target, surrenders damage in every round. Any Companion or Ally (if you have the ally feat) who does not attack the Ranger's Target, surrenders potential damage.

Quote:
Not to mention that the feats to hunt multiple targets or to share your target expand this even further without too much cost

Too much cost? It cost a feat to be able to designate a second Target. That is the same cost of every other feat. It also comes at level 12, so more than half of your character's life has been fighting single targets. If you don't make it to level 12, then it's your entire character's life. What's more, Double Target, the feat that finally gives you a second Target, is juxtaposed to Incredible Companion and Distracting Shot, both, which can impact your combat viability. Not a gimme.

Quote:
encouraging a scout-leader type of deal or a more general mechanic of "study your foes to get advantages" rather than "I have to laser-focus on one enemy at a time".

Let me point out one of the consequences of the 1.6 update that allowed Recall Knowledge on the HT. This means that in combat, I don't want to use Recall Knowledge on a foe until I can designate it as my Target. This is big factor in making me feel like I've got tunnel vision.

I can't speak for your experiences, but every combat and pre-combat, I am required to figure out who I wants as my Target. This happens every round if there are multiple targets. This is constant drain when I'm having to determine which potential target might last long enough for me to get a 2nd round of attacks on without having to switch targets again. Yes, for single target combats, it happens by default. but the mindset is still there. This is not the game experience I want when playing a Ranger. A Slayer? Sure. A Ranger...not at all.

Quote:
And nothing even stops you from moving your target around, yeah it takes an action but Hunted Shot/Twin Takedown makes up that deficit immediately.

Nothing stops me from changing by target but an action cost? I would qualify that as something prohibiting me from changing targets, especially when that action chews up my ability to move or make another attack. Glossing over the fact that there is a cost isn't a compelling argument. Hunted Shot doesn't make up the deficit, it means that I am losing out on significant damage by not attacking the Target.

I appreciate the call to reexamine the assertions in the face of the 1.6 update, but if anything 1.6 felt like it doubled-down on the single target focus by giving me even more benefit for attacking my Target, not less.


Captain Morgan wrote:


Other solutions might be making it so that Hunt Target let's you apply it to any creature of that type. If you're tracking a herd of virtually identical beasties, you probably wouldn't know which one was your Hunted Target anyway. I'm just not sure how you would apply it to, say, humanoids of the same ancestry but vastly different capabilities.

This was another huge problem I had with Hunt Target when used based on sound. The GM would let me apply HT, we'd open the door, then the GM would make some call as to which creature was the one I had Targeted. Creature is the across the room, or I get immediately attacked by some other creature, or the creature is killed by someone else higher in init....well, that was awesome.

The whole mechanic is flawed. Even getting to track something first doesn't work unless it's the only creature you fight, which isn't always the case.


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Dire Ursus wrote:
They got rid of feat tax for the most part. Getting spell caster multiclass feats aren't feat tax.

I view the fact that I now have to spend feats to be able to do something that the class could already do, as a feat tax. That is slightly different definition of what is typically meant.

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If rangers got spells as part of their class features and not any class feats then they would have to be nerfed in other places.

Based on what analysis? It would seem a percentage of the community thinks spells aren't even worth the Wisdom it costs to get them. I fail to see how giving them half-casting for free would make them overpowered in need of a nerf.

Quote:
And I'd rather not make rangers HAVE to be spell casters. I'd rather it be a choice.

I have no issue with letting people opt out. But if it's not part of the default class, then Ranger spells aren't going to get much support moving forward. It'll will most likely reduce the likelihood of Ranger's getting expanded spell options in subsequent books.

I don't know how Paizo gets a benefit from not making it default and then letting people opt out, other than they don't have to develop a working system in the near future.


N N 959 wrote:
I have no issue with letting people opt out. But if it's not part of the default class, then Ranger spells aren't going to get much support moving forward.

If, as it seems most probable that Rangers will get Powers or Focus Spells like Monks and Paladins have, then printing more options is simply going to be a matter of "printing more ranger feats" which is basically guaranteed.

It appears that the plan going forward is not to replicate the PF1 situation where we had 30 different spell lists because every class (or PRC) which had spells got its own bespoke list. We're just going to have the 4 (possibly extensible to 6 if we add the other 2 essence combinations) spell lists and classes will have varying levels of access to it.

Plus, thinking internally in terms of "essence" makes spell creation and assignment simpler, since you just say "oh, this is a material essence spell so it goes on the primal and arcane lists".


PossibleCabbage wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
I have no issue with letting people opt out. But if it's not part of the default class, then Ranger spells aren't going to get much support moving forward.
If, as it seems most probable that Rangers will get Powers or Focus Spells like Monks and Paladins have, then printing more options is simply going to be a matter of "printing more ranger feats" which is basically guaranteed.

Nothing is guaranteed except death, taxes, and forum complaints. And I would submit that it's not just a question of "printing" but of designing, playtesting, discussion. Paizo seems very conscientious about its work. It sounds like Jason and crew have put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into PF2 over the last half decade. So a decision to add more X isn't going to be as simple as just printing it.

Quote:
It appears that the plan going forward is not to replicate the PF1 situation where we had 30 different spell lists because every class (or PRC) which had spells got its own bespoke list. We're just going to have the 4 (possibly extensible to 6 if we add the other 2 essence combinations) spell lists and classes will have varying levels of access to it.

I get that sense as well, which I think will most likely backdoor nerf the Ranger. I don't blame Paizo for cutting down the spell lists. I would have hoped they could have done it in manner which did not rob the Ranger of the versatility it got from spells and spell use. I'm not holding my breadth on them getting it right.

Quote:
Plus, thinking internally in terms of "essence" makes spell creation and assignment simpler, since you just say "oh, this is a material essence spell so it goes on the primal and arcane lists".

I don't have a problem with a new system in theory. I would endorse a system that had a better narrative, but I think Druidic spells fit the Ranger narrative quite well.


Captain Morgan wrote:
You could also remove the limit on how many targets you can have at one time, but leave it as an action to hunt any individual target. That way a Ranger tracking a large group or scouting out an enemy force could mark every single one of them before combat begins. Kind of a Far Cry feel, which seems pretty on brand for the Ranger.

Thank you for this suggestion. I had a similar idea early in the play test, but forgot about it because the original version had so many other problems.

I think this might be a good solution/compromise. Paizo preserves the "first and foremost" hunter concept and the game play doesn't put as much burden on correctly choosing your target every round. I can switch targets, and come back to them. Perhaps a Ranger can have as many Targets as it has levels or the number of targets is equal to the Wisdom bonus. Double Target would simply add +1 to that list and essentially be far less critical to avoid feeling restricted..

Narratively, it still feels different and awkward, but as I said, it doesn't undermine the hunter identity that Paizo seems to be pushing. Would have been nice to playtest.


N N 959, I also feel like the ranger needs a fair amount of work to be playable, right now, but I feel like if your primary complaints are that there are not enough good ranger feats, and you wish they had more access to druid spells, you should probably at least try building and playing a Ranger multi-classed into Druid and see if it feels "nerfed" from what you want out of the ranger. Maybe you still feel like it is not enough, but you might have most specific feed back and ideas for what the class needs to be more than that combination.

NOTE: I do understand that the hunt target feature is still going to be a non-starter class feature for you, so fixing that is still something that feels necessary, but I am curious about the balance of power that having access to a pretty good chunk of Druid spells in exchange for a couple of class feats looks in play to you.


Unicore wrote:
I feel like if your primary complaints are that there are not enough good ranger feats, and you wish they had more access to druid spells

I appreciate the good-faith attempt to psychoanalyze my issues, but it's not quite accurate. Let's step back and acknowledge that whatever specific reasons I have for not liking the PF2 Ranger, there is a near universal consensus that the PF1 Ranger and the PF2 Ranger are not similar. This comes from all combinations of people who like or dislike either version.

Someone made a comment that I really wanted Ranger 1.5, not 2.0. Well....I think the vast majority of people who play PF1 wanted version 2 which kept the best things about PF1 and reduced or eliminated the bad things. I think those of use who played and paid for PF1 wanted to feel like it was an improved version of PF1 and not a completely different game. Jason Bulmahn specifically told us he wanted us to tell the "same stories." Granted, there will have to be some changes to that experience, but I'm not alone in thinking the PF2 Ranger is a completely different animal.

Paizo knows they aren't going to get it right the first time. If they did, they wouldn't have a playtest. The questions is whether they are willing to acknowledge that or insist that this is what the class should be. IMO, there are fundamental problems with the PF2 Ranger. Some of those problems are the same problems that the PF1 Ranger had. e.g. tracking isn't generally useful. Some of the issues have been introduced e.g. recasting the Ranger as "first and foremost' a hunter.

About your specific observations, if Paizo expects a player to multi-class in order to recapture the feeling of PF1, then that's failure out of the gate. Rogues aren't asked to multi-class, and neither are Fighters. All the classes should work, as is. No one should need to multi-class unless they want to do something outside the box. If Paizo's attitude is everything can be fixed by multi-classing, then I absolutely do not want to play PF2. Based on comments made by Jason Bulmahn, it would appear he feels that having classes is an asset. That the game is built upon having strong / viable classes. Well, the jury is in and the PF2 Ranger fails that test for what seems like the majority. Maybe I'm wrong and the Survey showed the majority loves the PF2 Ranger. If so, then we won't see changes and I won't be playing PF2.

Actual spell use has very little to nothing to do with my PF2 Ranger issues from game play. P1 Rangers don't even get spells until 4th level. So casting spells doesn't factor into low level Ranger play. The inability to use wands, definitely does, but that doesn't manifest until you can actually afford wands, so again, not a 1st level concern. Even at 5th level, spell use isn't a dominant factor. But spell use becomes a bigger and bigger factor as you continue to level. So my concern is about the higher level play and how this impacts the versatility/adaptability.

In-game tactics aside, removing spells is about Paizo nerfing the class without acknowledging it. There was NOTHING given to the class to compensate. Nothing. Spells like Resist Energy, Longstrider, Feather Step, can have a dramatic effect in any given scenario. All of those options have been stripped from the class and it's ridiculous to tell me I should have to multi-class to get them back. Does the Cleric have to multi-class to get back any of its core concepts?

Finally lack of feats isn't, in and of itself, a problem. at low levels in PF1, you don't have a lot of feats and what feats you do get to start off are pretty typically used for the same thing on most builds. But having to buy back things that were standard has a psychological impact on class building. Even if he math some how works out the same, how you go about it matters. Proof of that is the whole half-elf / orc bru ha ha. Mark Seifter insisted they way they were doing it put people in the same place as not doing that. But it didn't matter, people hated it and they changed it.

Quote:
, but I am curious about the balance of power that having access to a pretty good chunk of Druid spells in exchange for a couple of class feats looks in play to you.

Requiring players to buy-in for spells rather than giving them by default and letting people swap it out for something like snares, is about the narrative continuity of the class and the long term development of the class. Spell use grants a more cerebral feel to the Ranger. Taking that away dumbs the Ranger down. Requiring players to buy-in, I think will inherently result in a weaker Ranger because it's natural for designers to think that a character who opts for something non-standard, should have to pay a transaction cost. I think there's an in-grained mentality in game design that the variants shouldn't be quite as good as the default because you expect most people to play the default, so the default needs to be the most solid.

I also think that moving forward, it means that there will be less impetus to support the casting aspect of the class, unless some particular designer is all about spells/spell power/whatever. But that seems unlikely. We'll probably see more Paizo love for snares (which I think are a terrible mechanic for nominal game play) than we will for spells and I think it will hurt the class.

The Ranger already suffers from a shrinking domain. It's beyond me why Paizo would voluntarily shrink that domain further, especially when they didn't even try to fix spells. Though, I can understand that in the current version of PF2, half-casting is problematic. So from that perspective I can understand them wanting to ditch spells for non-full casters...but as stated, they gave the Ranger nothing to compensate. Nothing.

Liberty's Edge

N N

You still haven't picked a Profile Avatar yet, tsk tsk, for shame.

Onto my short discussion point-

Would you say that you'd be happy with a Hunters Edge, the "Nature Attuned" Edge (Or whatever other thematic name you like) that gives them access to full 10 level Primal Spellcasting with something like the following at 1st Level:

Cantrips: 4/day memorized,
1st Level: 1/day memorized

They could follow that same pattern as they advance in level (Basically as a Druid except -1 to all Levels of Spell). In exchange I personally think this is feasible but only if they lose their Class Feats at level 1, 6, 10, 14, 18. Spellcasting as it stands is WAY powerful to gain for "free" and even with Ranger being in bad sorts as it stands adding full spellcasting is going to HAVE to cost them something if PF2 is going to try to maintain some semblance of balance.

I think something like this could work pretty well, but I'm wondering if this seems like an approachable tack in order to allow the Spellcasting Ranger. Thoughts?


Themetricsystem wrote:

Would you say that you'd be happy with a Hunters Edge, the "Nature Attuned" Edge (Or whatever other thematic name you like) that gives them access to full 10 level Primal Spellcasting with something like the following at 1st Level:

?

I don't want the Ranger to become the PF1 Hunter. Lack of spells at 1st level wasn't an issue for me, and I absolutely don't think the class should have access to high level spells.

The Ranger needs to have a unique (amongst martials) way to deal with situational challenges in and out of combat, and probably nature-themed. A way to boost itself that doesn't require time travel or being played by Nostradamus to be useful. It doesn't have to be Spells, but Skills/Skill Feats aren't going to be flexible or unique enough.

And it shouldn't cost me combat viability or come at the expense of other Ranger abilities. This was part of the class...for free (well, you did have to have a 14 Wisdom by level 12 or so)

If Paizo wants to Option it, then juxtapose it with abilities that a Ranger didn't have in PF1. Like Snares, or some other brand new ability. It absolutely should not require a player sacrifice something that was part of the class.


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I mean, the whole point of extreme modularity for classes is that you don't get (many) abilities you don't choose. A ranger having to buy spells with feats isn't fundamentally different from how a monk has to buy ki powers with feats or a druid has to buy new ways to wild shape with feats or a sorcerer has to buy bloodline powers with feats.

I think every class has "something they got by default in PF1, but now have to choose to spend class feats on" in this edition.

Sure, classes should probably get more things by default (since class feats are a huge bottleneck), but those should be things every member of that class has/wants not things people are eager to trade away if it doesn't jive with their character concept. Bugaboo is nailing down "what thing defines the ranger which everybody playing one wants".


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean, the whole point of extreme modularity for classes is that you don't get (many) abilities you don't choose. A ranger having to buy spells with feats isn't fundamentally different from how a monk has to buy ki powers with feats or a druid has to buy new ways to wild shape with feats or a sorcerer has to buy bloodline powers with feats.

And yet every PF2 ranger gains Hunt Target, even though the abilities similar to it are in PF1 archetypes or the Slayer hybrid class rather than in the core ranger.

My second PF1 ranger, Abu, chose Animal as his Favored Enemy because his backstory had him serving as a guide to hunters. Rise of the Runelords threw very few animals at the party, so he had almost no advantage from Favored Enemy. He worked out fine. At 4th level, the Advanced Player's Guide was published, so he switched to the Guide archetype, which fit his backstory better. That archetype had an ability called Ranger's Focus, which was like a once-per-day Hunt Target but stronger. It did not seem any different from having a Favored Enemy that never showed up.

The spellcasting, in contrast, did feel useful.

N N 959 wrote:
About your specific observations, if Paizo expects a player to multi-class in order to recapture the feeling of PF1, then that's failure out of the gate. Rogues aren't asked to multi-class, and neither are Fighters. All the classes should work, as is. No one should need to multi-class unless they want to do something outside the box. If Paizo's attitude is everything can be fixed by multi-classing, then I absolutely do not want to play PF2. ...

I fixed a few problems with Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition classes by multiclassing. And Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition punished non=Prestige multiclassing with a reduced-xp-earned penalty unless the player carefully followed the Favorite Class rules for the species. I had a human cleric who wanted skills who became cleric 5/ranger 2/rogue 2, because more than 2 levels in non-Prestige class besides his primary class would trigger the penalties. An elf cleric became cleric 9/wizard 1/arcane archer 3, because he was an archer cleric but arcane archer Prestige Class required arcane spellcasting.

I continued the multiclassing habit in Pathfinder at first. For example, the ranger Abu (mentioned above) multiclassed to monk at 6th level. However, as I mastered Pathfinder, I began multclassing less and less, because I could use archetypes or hybrid classes to customize the character instead.

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